Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, the science in support of mask mandates was at best shaky with new studies proving ad nauseam that their implementation had any measurable benefit toward decreasing transmission of the virus.
Still, roughly two and a half years since “social distancing” became a common term, zealots return to their face coverings like a frightened child to a security blanket but, even in California, there are signs that draconian responses are losing ground to personal liberty.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) had established the parameters to reinstitute a mask mandate if certain conditions were met. After a second consecutive week of a “high” level of COVID cases and hospitalizations, a new indoor masking order could be handed down Friday. However, should such a decree be implemented, the Beverly Hills City Council voted unanimously that they will not enforce it.
— Lili Bosse (@LiliBosse1) July 26, 2022
Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse brought the issue up for discussion at the council’s Monday night meeting before the unanimous vote was cast to disregard a LACDPH indoor mask mandate that would include their city.
“I feel it is our job to lead and I support the power of choice,” Bosse said in a statement. “Our job is to be proactive and public about what we believe. This is a united City Council and community that cares about health. We are not where we were in 2020, and now we need to move forward as a community and be part of the solution.”
The decision to vote against using their resources to enforce a potential mandate comes on the heels of Dr. Anthony Fauci once again praising the “good public health practice” of wearing a mask in areas of “very high level of dynamic viral circulation” and insisted that if he could go back and do manage the pandemic again “there would have been much, much more stringent restrictions in the sense of very, very heavy, encouraging people to wear masks, physical distancing or what have you,” because, as he later put it, “the data now are very clear that masks are very good at preventing both the acquisition of and transmission of infection.”
Beverly Hills was not alone in their disagreement with Fauci and mandate pushers, though as a touch of rational thinking reached the LA County Board of Supervisors in the form of member Kathryn Barger.
— Supervisor Kathryn Barger (@kathrynbarger) July 25, 2022
Despite maintaining her support for vaccines, and in contrast to Fauci’s claims, Barger explained, “I have not seen any empirical data that conclusively shows that masking mandates make a difference in decreasing or stopping COVID-19 transmission rates.”
“An analysis of Alameda County’s June 2022 masking mandate, in fact, concluded it had no significant impact in comparison to its surrounding counties that did not impose a masking mandate,” she continued. “Alameda County dropped this mandate after only three weeks.”
Barger further expressed, “What I have seen, time and time again, is that masking mandates actually distract our collective efforts to decrease COVID-19 infection rates. I believe masking mandates are polarizing and are unenforceable. I also believe we have not fully examined nor understand the costs associated with imposing masking mandates among our children and youth.”
“Imposing a one-size-fits all masking mandate now for all is not something I can or will support,” she declared.
It is unclear where the rest of the board stands ahead of their Tuesday meeting to discuss and consider “necessary actions on the Public Health Order,” but it is known that Barger has taken contrary positions to her colleagues before. Earlier this month, despite her own opposition to Sheriff Alex Villanueva, she dissented from the board on a vote to grant the supervisors power to remove a sitting sheriff “for cause.”
“To me it just smacks of politics and I really do believe that this is driven by individual not by office,” Barger said at the time.
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